Of all the ways that you can stand in your own way, procrastination is one of the most common. Procrastination is an intentional delay to do a task at hand when there is no rational reason for it. It can be your worst enemy.
What does it look like? Well, sometimes it looks like videos of kittens on Facebook. Other times, it looks like work.
But it’s not the work that needs to be done. Procrastination can be the decision to clear out your inbox when you should be writing a report.
People procrastinate when they are faced with a task that they don’t want to do. Either it’s unpleasant or it’s difficult or it takes too much time. People who are impulsive or easily distracted procrastinate in reaction to some stimulus that attracts them.
But don’t be discouraged. Procrastination can be overcome. And you can do it. The first step is to be aware of it. Pay attention to your work habits. If you are distracted, wasting time, or not doing the task at hand, take action about it.
One way to get back to work is the Pomodoro technique. Set a kitchen timer for 25 minutes. Then tackle a chunk of the work you need to do that day. Work without stopping until the timer goes off, then take a three to five minute break.
When your break is over, set the timer for 25 minutes and start all over again. After you have done four sessions, take a longer break – say 10 to 15 minutes. It’s a very effective technique for some people because you have downtime built in to your schedule.
Of course, you need to eliminate distractions. If the internet, your email, or your phone keeps grabbing your attention, just find a way to put it away so that you can concentrate on your work.
Having an accountability partner can help, too. Make a bargain that each of you will make a certain amount of progress on your goals by the time you meet again. Then you’ll feel honor-bound to be productive in the meantime.
Don’t be your own worst enemy. Don’t stand in the way of your progress towards your goal. Monitor your work habits. If you find that you are procrastinating, take action against it. And don’t put it off. Do it now!